Friday, June 20, 2008

Solve This One 

Here is a PR challenge that could improve the social fabric of the United States -- getting doctors to use electronic medical records. There is no argument that computer-based records are better, but doctors still aren't using them. They plead cost as the reason for not switching from paper files.

Were I a teacher of PR students, I would challenge them to develop a program that would persuade doctors to take the step. There would be several parts to the assignment. One would be a subsidy to change over. Another would be spokespersons whom doctors' trust -- i.e., other doctors who have made the change. A third would be technical help to hand-hold a doctor through the change. Finally, there would be a matter of time to get the change done, especially if one is converting paper-based medical records. The challenge would be to find the right mix that would get doctors willing to take the step.

It would be a triumphant cap to a career to help solve this problem. One question that is bothersome is why a coalition of pharmaceutical companies and other health-related agencies haven't stepped forward to take on the task. My guess is that they are pleading lack of budget as well, but until the switch-over is made, US healthcare will continue to suffer. Is the Federal Government the only entity big enough to take on the task?

That would be a great assignment for a PR class. It would not only require them to research the problem (because very few students would know very much about the health care system), but also ask them to solve a problem as opposed to writing release about the problem.

Great idea!

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?